I recently premiered a short film called Avarice, and it would be a great understatement to say that a few things went wrong. A LOT went wrong. It’s incredibly frustrating to work yourself to a point of exhaustion and to end up looking like an inexperienced kid with a movie while showing it to hundreds of people. Learn from my mistakes because I know I certainly did. Here are 3 things I will forever do before a screening.
Waiting Until the Time to Screen the Film to Test Out the Projector and Sound System
To be fair, we tried setting up the projector and testing it out the night before. However, we were screening at a comic convention, so there was something going on in that room every minute until the time we were allowed to screen the film. But since we weren’t able to test it out, we still had to pay the price. Everything that could possibly go wrong with it went wrong.
Luckily, we were able to figure out how to show it, but it wasn’t smooth sailing at all. We had 4 screenings scheduled and only 3 were shown. The main screening started almost an hour late. The price I paid: having to stand up in front of hundreds of people trying to entertain them while the problems were worked out. That’s actually harder to do than one would think, so just try to make sure the equipment all works before you screen to save yourself the trouble.
Get on Stage Without a Prepared Presentation
This lesson was a direct result of not being able to follow through on the first lesson. Because I was stuck at the front of the room trying to entertain the crowd, I quickly ran out of things to say. Thinking I would only have to be on stage for a quick intro, I had put all of my energy into remembering to say just a few things. My partner, Dan Baker, and I had were hoping to get the chance to not only talk about our movie, but also tell everyone who we were and what we’re trying to do with Macedonia Films.
Everything you think you know about something flies straight out the window when you’re standing in front of a room full of people. We were extremely short on time before the premiere, so we didn’t have much choice. However, it was one of our biggest regrets by the end of it. Being able to talk confidently in front of an audience wins a lot of points as a filmmaker.
Wait Until the Very Last Second to Finish the Film
To be fair, we had the film at a place where we were comfortable showing an audience. However, we did not take into account that Dan’s dinosaur computer wouldn’t spit out a rendered copy of the film in time for the premiere. Everything happens at the last minute in film, I know. However, when it’s too last-minute like this, that’s when it becomes a problem.
He was stuck waiting at home for the computer to finally finish rendering the film and was then caught it traffic on the way to the premiere, resulting in an extremely late start. Our audience was incredibly gracious and not only stayed the whole time but also seemed to really enjoy the film.
However, next time, we may not be so lucky. Overall lesson, everything needs to be ready to go a day in advance if possible. In our case, it wasn’t possible, but we also suffered for it. Learn from our mistakes so they were not made in vain!
What experiences have you had premiering a film?